Evolution of content sharing platforms in India: Karam Malhotra, SHAREit India
Guest Column: Karam Malhotra, CEO, SHAREit India says customisation and localisation are key to brands being successful in a market such as India
Published - 09-May-2019
While India continues to undergo and embrace the digital revolution, triggering transformative changes in areas like e-payments, e-health, digital literacy, farming, financial inclusion, etc., handheld devices or mobile phones are at the center of it all. The country has seen unprecedented growth in mobile ownership – basic as well as smartphones. This rise has been supported by the rapid rollout and adoption of 4G technology. Basis the latest TRAI report, published in December 2018, the Indian telecom market has 388 million 4G LTE subscribers in the September quarter of 20181.
Recently, according to a study by market research firm Kantar IMRB, 97 per cent of the users access the Internet using mobile phones. As time spent on mobile has outshone desktop, mobile interactions have also surpassed all other media for brand-based interactions. This basically means that customers and consumers, today, are looking for you on their mobile device. This, in turn, has led brands and organizations to opt for a ‘mobile first’ approach, with mobile internet becoming an important driver of small-scale commerce and even content consumption. Media consumption across the globe is increasingly shifting onto digital formats. The increase in the number of smartphones along with increasing Internet access speed has provided consumers with an option to access the media content of their choice be it information or entertainment anytime, anywhere. This not only paved way for popular social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram to create a market for user-generated content and stream shows, videos, and movies on these platforms but also eventually opened gates for platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.
Indian television today is not just restricted to TV sets but can be accessed across smartphones, and personal computers. Now, it's becoming a common sight to see consumers, across genders and age, watching their beloved daily soaps on the phone rather than on TV. Brands such as Netflix, Hotstar and Amazon prime were smart enough to quickly realize the potential hidden in customization and producing indigenous content for India. For instance, a few years ago nobody would have imagined a popular actor such as Saif Ali Khan doing a television show or the producer Karan Johar to be producing exclusive shows for Netflix.
Customization and localization have been the key contributors to successful brands in a market such as India. For instance, if a brand wants to ensure reaching to masses and penetrating into tier 2 and tier 3 markets they need to provide content in multiple languages. The application which started as a content sharing application is now amongst the leading content discovery, consumption, and sharing platforms in the country. Via strategic partnerships with local Indian content provider platforms, SHAREit now streams local digital content such as short videos, movies, and music, etc. for its Indian users which is available in 9 local Indian languages such as Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Punjabi, Malayalam, etc. With a wide user base especially in tier II and tier III cities, SHAREit has also helped their content partners reach a wider audience, especially those unreachable by big players in the industry.
Additionally, in recent times, Artificial Intelligence has emerged as a powerful tool for brands and marketers. Streaming and sharing platforms are greatly benefitting from AI technology as image, emotion, and voice recognition have empowered consumers to increasingly rely on AI tools to organize and search content archives. The combination of Artificial Intelligence, Analytics, and Machine Learning are today delivering insights that are being leveraged to create highly personalized solutions and query resolutions for consumers, offering improved services to the consumers and increasing their chances to remain loyal to a platform.
India, over the past couple of years, has wholeheartedly embraced new technology and digitization. The consumers are much more aware of their options and are increasingly spending more time on digital media as compared to traditional media. This presents platforms not only with the opportunity to further tune their offerings to suit the Indian palette but also to get their business model right to ensure sustained success in the coming years.
(Karam Malhotra is CEO of transfer and sharing app, SHAREit India)
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